Maybe it was just me.

IMG_0679My family headed south for vacation. That alone is always a task. But on my way home I was thinking I know it won’t be that exciting of a post, but I would like to kinda talk about our trip in the economical and review of places kinda sense. I promise to include pictures and links, so hopefully that will spice it up some.

First off, for the last two years I have tried for a travel grant to travel the east coast and the south. The grant is prestigious and I have yet to win. Every year I am disappointed and every year I vow to try again. Last year I got the family involved and I think it got their hopes up. So when the rejection letter came it was  hard to tell them we didn’t get it. But the letter did come and we made a family decision this year.

We are taking a family vacation. Our 2nd ever and 1st post MVD. Traveling with kids is stressful. It is also fun and beautiful to see the new places and things through their eyes. Add in that my and I had a horrible experience in Myrtle Beach at the beginning of our IMG_0704marriage and we were determined one to recover and take back our experience and two to see the beach in a family friendly place.

There are people that rave about MB and I think it is great. But it IS SOOOOO packed with tourist. We weren’t even there during their busy time, so I cannot imagine that time frame. But the biggest issue I saw in MB as a whole was just how unsafe I felt with my children. Now I will preface to say I am a little more paranoid than normal (thank you OCD) and my husband is a reserve sheriff and has been all of our marriage, so I don’t always see the world and people’s intentions as rosy pink. But I literally felt like I could not let them out of my site. Some of the characters I saw were more than questionable.

I also booked our “resort” solely from the web and reviews I saw. Once we drove up we realized we were smack dab in the middle of it all. That approximately 11 floors from our townhouse was the center of MB and all of its chaos. So maybe that was some of the nervousness I experienced.

IMG_0749We stayed at the Sandy Beach Hotel and Resort. We have stayed at resorts before and I will say this deserves a “resort” status. Resorts to me speak of service, respect and safety at the least. The customer service here was poor. They were clearly doing us a favor by showing up for work. Never once did any staff member make eye contact with us.

The resort parts like elevators, pools, hot tubs and amenities were mediocre mostly because they were not the cleanest or were jam packed full of people. People could literally walk in off the street and swim in our pools and enter our hotel. It felt extremely unsettling. They did give us rubber wrist bands to identify resort guests. But given the homeless man I saw sleeping right next to the kiddie pool play area I don’t think the resort bands are checked on the regular. In fact, not one person asked to see ours or even looked for it.

We didn’t use the pool a lot mostly because it was so busy. We would sneak down early IMG_0748before it got crowded and go for a swim. But if we didn’t go then your chances of swimming with everyone and their family member were extremely high. The resort section of the beach is by far the nicest part of this whole place. It was well kept, beautiful and spacious. They also provided two lifeguards which is a nice sense of security for a parent. There was also a nice dive beach bar right next to hotel with cheap drinks and food. The beach wasn’t nearly as crowded and felt much safer. There was also a swim amusement park right next to us. We went there one day. It was okay. It is so hot and it had no where for one to just swim. The pools were all for slide catches and lazy rivers. I just wanted to cool off and so did my girls so it lasted about two hours.

With the negative I was extremely nervous about the rooms and how they would be. Well let me tell you they were extremely clean and spacious. I felt the most safe in there with IMG_0741the doors locked and our make shift alarm (hello tons of bottles of water). The room had some wear and tear, but given it’s location I don’t think I was overly surprised. But we had everything we needed. Everyone had a private bedroom, bathrooms, kitchen with dishes and washer and dryer. There were also two balconies to boot.

The room also included free wifi and coffee all day. The wifi worked in #2 & 3’s room and then the rest of the townhouse it would maybe work. In the upstairs master it never worked at all. My guy and I had to use our hot spot if we wanted to do anything net. The coffee was always brewing every day, but there was one small issue. By the time I got there they would always be out of cups and remain that way.

So the big question…would we stay here again? Probably not. We may go back to MB, but for what we paid I would work on finding a rental home with a pool. I think my girls would have been much happier and I would have been more calm about safety. But it wasn’t an awful vacation. The area is beautiful and the drive was breathtaking.

IMG_0778I did want to give a huge shout out to the places we stayed on the way down and back. The way down we stayed in Asheville at a Doubletree and it was amazing. We felt like queens and a king with our freshly baked cookies and the kindness shown to our considered “large” family by booking standards. But nothing was better than our stay on the way home. We stayed in a new concept hotel by Hilton called Home2Hilton. It a concept that prides itself on economical and ecological impacts of the community it surrounds. It was breathtakingly gorgeous to look at with it’s grays and lime greens. We were also able to all stay together in one room with three double beds, a kitchen, office area and still feel like we have some privacy. We want to go back just to stay there.

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